My Friends the Saints

There are countless things that I love about being Catholic.  There have been multiple times when exiting Mass that I cannot get over the love of a God who humbles Himself under the appearance of bread to spend time with me.  An increasing Marian devotion has made me appreciate the beauty of the feminine genius.  And any time that I open up a book written by John Paul II, my heart melts with appreciation for the beauty of the Church.

However, recently, I’ve fallen into a deeper love affair with the Catholic tradition of recognizing Saints in the life of the Church.  In a time of transition in my life, when my community from my college years shifts, and my life begins to take adult turns, the stability in the saints as my dearest friends has been a steady presence in my life this year.

So, because I can’t do each one of my friends, the saints, justice – here are some things I have enjoyed particular in my relationships with the saints if you are looking to delve into a friendship you’ll never regret.

The saints struggled and strove for the same holiness you are called to.

The saints are not holier-than-thou beings that sit up in Heaven judging you about how your journey to Heaven is going.  Instead, they are very real human beings who, frankly, messed up and struggled too.  There is an incredible beauty of reliability that occurs between the Church militant and the Church triumphant – a sharing of both a struggle and goal.

A shared experience has the unique power to bond two parties together.  Last Spring Break, I went on a Lenten hike through a national park in Texas.  The people who I hiked with had a few things in common with me – we were all college students, Catholic, and the outdoors appealed to us.  Yet after six days together, pouring rain, glorious sunshine and tents that leaked a little more than I preferred, the shared experience of that hike has become a connecting factor between all of us.  In application of our relationships with the saints, each one of them was an imperfect human being with a desire to reach Heaven and His heart.  So although the time that you walked on this earth differs from theirs, or your life stories have great variations, the shared experience of the journey to Heaven connects you in more ways than is possible to know.

There is a saint for ever struggle because every saints was a sinner.

Without exaggeration, there is a saint for every struggle known to man. Saint patronages exist not because the saint had successful conquered all temptations and lived with a soul as clean as snow for the rest of their life, but instead because the saint experienced a struggle with that vice.  Venerable Matt Talbot is not the patron of those who struggle with addictions and alcohol abuse because he had life figured out in those areas.  Rather, we intercede to him because he spent over sixteen years racking up an incredible amount of debt at local bars because of substance abuse, yet was able to delve into the struggle thanks to daily Mass and a devotion to Mary.

My favorites include Saint Jerome, who was introverted and cranky, but people still flocked to him because of his relationship with Christ and knowledge of the faith…so they made him the patron of those who struggle with tempers {like yours truly}.  Or Saint Drogo, patron saint of coffee…although despite lengthy research, I can’t quite explain why that patronage exists.

There are saints for every state of life, from single {Saint Maria Goretti, Saint Lucy, Saint Lawrence} to those called to a religious vocation {Saint John of the Cross, Saint Theresa of Avila, Saint John Vianney} to those who are called to marriage {Saints Louis and Zelie Martin, Saints Isidore and Maria.}

You cannot fall in love with someone unless you talk to them.

If the walls of my car could talk, they would tell you some stellar stories.  Those who know me also know that my perfectionism begs me to have conversations out loud in my car before I have them with the person they are intended for.  Yes, I play both parts of the conversation, and yes, I do voice impersonations.  On the negative side of that habit, it becomes incredibly frustrating when those real-life conversations don’t play out exactly as I had meticulously planned for them to go.

Yet the relationships that benefit the most from my car conversations are my relationships with the saints.  Having a three hour car ride is no problem because that means bonding time with my Heavenly favorites – Saint Zelie Martin, Saint Maria Goretti and Saint John Paul II and I have had amazingly good heart-to-hearts on the drives back and forth from destinations.

If you think about your relationship with the saints in the same way that you would your relationship with human beings who walk the earth with you, it makes sense that a need for conversation would arise.  Granted, my heart-to-hearts with the Martins are not nearly as conversational as my heart-to-hearts with my dear friends over coffee.  Yet the aspect of praying with and to the saints for intercession concerning their patronage is key to your relationship with them.

Heaven is going to be amazing when you get to spend eternity with those who helped you through the trenches.

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